Credit card companies roll out 2012 Christmas promos

By Emma Lunn

Credit card providers are joining in the holiday festivities by offering special Christmas promotions offering discounts at certain retailers or extra rewards points.

However, it pays to think twice before automatically using your credit card for festive season spending.

"Some card providers may offer enhanced rewards or additional discounts on specific goods or at certain stores. While this may be an opportunity to save some money, you could also end up buying something you don't really want purely on the basis of the promotion," warns Andrew Hagger of MoneyComms, "It's also possible that you could buy the same goods elsewhere at a lower price, so don't let loyalty promotions deter you from shopping around."

Assuming you've weighed the risks and benefits, here's a round-up of this year's festive season credit card promotions.

MasterCard

The credit card giant is offering several Christmas promotions on travel and merchandise purchased via MasterCard between now and 31 December. Check the credit card company's website for deadlines and  the promotional codes needed to cash in on the deals. credit-cardchristmas-promotions

Here's a sampling of some of the offers that are good until the end of the year:

  • Earn 10% off hotel stays if you book through Lastminute.com and enter a promotional code.
  • If it's recovery from holiday stress you're after, cardholders can get a 15% discount on Champneys standard day spa packages and residential breaks.
  • Shopping with MasterCard's partners can help you save on Christmas gifts. Using your MasterCard at Buyagift.com can earn you a 20% discount. Other offers include discounts at IWantOneOfThose.com, Joe Brown's and Kitbag.
  • Want to send flowers to the host of a Christmas or New Year's Eve party? MasterCard cardholders can get 20% off online orders with Clare Florist (with the exception of same-day orders).

Tesco Clubcard

Tesco Clubcard holders can take advantage of the Christmas Clubcard Exchange. During the promotion, you can exchange £5 worth of Clubcard vouchers for £10 to spend in selected departments.

As usual, Clubcard vouchers can be earned by using both the Tesco Clubcard and Tesco Clubcard credit card. You'll have to act quickly though -- you can exchange your vouchers only through 5 December, and you have only until 11 December to use them.

Sainsbury's Nectar card

Nectar cardholders can double or triple rewards points earned at some retailers this Christmas. For example you can earn triple points (six points per £1 spent) at Cloggs.co.uk and TheatrePeople.com until 28 December, and on purchases of Rosetta Stone software until 21 December.

Meanwhile double points (four points per £1 spent) are on offer at Whittards of Chelsea until 21 December. Offers are updated continuously, so check Sainsbury's website for details.

Between now and 9 December, Nectar cardholders can also enter to play "Bauble Bonanza" via the Nectar Facebook page to win prizes and rewards points.

Marks and Spencer

M&S cardholders who use their cards before 3 January 2013 will be entered into a Christmas prize draw. There will be 100 prizes rewarded, and each winner will receive £1,000 in gift cards to be spent in store.

WorldPoints

Travellers who have a WorldPoints loyalty card can earn one point for every £1 spent at Heathrow Airport and one point for every £10 exchanged at Bureaux de Change. Until 31 December 2012, up to 15,000 extra WorldPoints are on offer if you buy watches, jewellery and technology. The offer is available at Heathrow Airport at selected stores, including Mappin & Webb, Watches of Switzerland, Omega and Links of London.

Although the WorldPoints card is a loyalty card (not a credit card), the points you earn with it could be a nice supplement to the Avios you're already earning with a travel rewards credit card. You can exchange 250 WorldPoints for 300 Avios, which can be used to buy flights.

MBNA

If it's a new credit card you're after, MBNA is offering new customers a £20 Marks and Spencer voucher when they apply for the MBNA Platinum Credit Card through its website.

The offer will be available for the month leading up to Christmas and applies only to the MBNA Platinum credit card, which offers 20 months at 0% interest for all balance transfers made in the first 60 days.

American Express

If you're an AmEx cardholder, check out the card company's Facebook page, which lists Christmas promotions and discounts, including a Christmas shopping parties at Harvey Nichols in Manchester on 5 December, where cardholders can get up to 50% off purchases.

Other deals include a 20% discount on full-size Elemis products until 31 December via the Timetospa.co.uk website.

If you're looking to get away before Christmas, AmEx cardmembers can book and stay at Swissôtel Hotels worldwide and receive a complimentary daily breakfast and an upgrade to the next higher room category for stays before 31 December.

See related: Best low-interest cards for Christmas shopping, Brits willing to stretch budgets for Christmas

Published: 28 November 2012